Balls completes trio of triumphs

By Fergus Muir

BURY St Edmunds man Peter Balls took his third successive East District Cycling Association 25 mile championship, setting a new championship record time of 52:19 and beating second-placed Paul Ashby by 2:27.

Balls, who rides for West Suffolk Wheelers, is a thorough-going time trialist whose current aim is to beat 50 minutes for a 25-mile ride in competition. With a current personal best of 50:12 he may not have to wait long to achieve that.

However a “49” was not likely to happen on a bleak and windy Wisbech bypass in the championship. Very sharp rain squalls crossed the course during the event and conditions varied by the minute.

In fact Balls found himself going three miles per hour slower on the same stretch of road on his second “lap”. The course consisted of two return runs on a 12 mile stretch of the A47 plus a short finishing leg on the old main road.

The ladies’ championship was won by Catherine Essex (King’s Lynn CC) in 1:1:59.

Best Ipswich rider was Angus Jardine (IBC) who was fifth in 56:55, while perhaps the star performance came from 13 year-old CC Breckland rider and fourth-generation time trialist Declan Davis who went under-the-hour for the first time with 59:25.

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Meanwhile, Ben Nicholson (Iceni Velo), from Belton near Lowestoft, won the evening road race on the much upgraded racing car circuit at Lotus after breaking away with just over a lap to go.

Matt Toone, Gavin Moore Tom Fitzpatrick and Richard Dunnett were among riders making multiple attempts at escape. However, with little wind to split the field and what turned out to be an overall race speed of 26.8 mph the bunch did not split.

With riders pressing forward on the approach to the finish there was a substantial pile-up and three riders needed hospital treatment, though all were home by next day.

Former British Cycling Academy rider Russell Hampton (Sigma Sport) was the strong man – and the winner – of the PCH UK road race at Ugley, Essex.

The race incorporated the Eastern Counties CA Championship, which was won by Owen Lake, (Cambridge CC) who is using his gap year to concentrate on road racing.

Patrick Schils (Velo Schils) was winner of the “C” age group at the LVRC races at Hog Hill.

The Dunwich Dynamo night ride from London to the Suffolk coast is fast becoming a classic objective for riders from East Anglia – thanks in particular to great co-operation from National Express railway staff in getting unprecedented numbers of riders to the start.

Although this year’s ride was sandwiched between two wet days, thankfully the participants – well over a thousand of them – experienced a largely dry night as they covered the 116 mile route via Sible Hedingham and Peasenhall to Dunwich.

Result: Lotus Cars – Round Four: 1 Ben Nicholson (Iceni Velo) 2 M Thurston ((Iceni), 3 N Esser (VC Baracchi) 4 C Sharrock (Great Yarmouth CC), 5 M Toone (Stowmarket & District) 6 N Miller (XRT/Elmy).

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